Mary* was 46 years old when she attended LCN’s domestic violence community awareness day and joined a session late in the day. As the session ended, Mary disclosed to one of our Caseworkers that she had never realised she too was a victim of domestic violence. While her husband never hit her, he had been financially and emotionally abusive throughout the entire 23 years of their marriage.
Drought and other financial problems forced Mary and her husband to sell their rural property and move into town. Having thought that her husband was just being frugal, Mary accepted that she had no money as she had seen her parents live the same way. Mary was only allowed a small amount of money each week for the groceries and she had to produce the receipts to her husband when she returned home. Allowed no other financial responsibility, Mary had no idea about their financial situation and was told by her to “mind your own business, finances have nothing to do with you”. When the bank foreclosed on their property due to enormous debts incurred by her husband, Mary was shocked that they were forced to move to a small unit in town.
In a short time, Mary’s husband became progressively worse, began drinking heavily and Mary had no idea where to turn for help. Then she found LCN. Our Caseworkers ensured that it was safe for Mary to return home and they helped Mary plan her exit. Mary decided that she wanted to remain in the home but also needed her husband to recognise his hurtful actions and change his ways.
Mary met with our Caseworker and she was supported through our Staying Home Leaving Violence program. She received domestic violence counselling and AVOs were discussed. Our Caseworker also supported Mary as she contacted a financial counsellor for help with their financial matters.
Coming to LCN proved to be a pivotal turning point for the family. The Caseworker also talked to Mary’s husband about his behaviour and encouraged him to also attend the financial counselling as a possible way out of their financial difficulties. Mary’s husband agreed to attend an anger management course, reduce his alcohol use and seek counselling for his controlling behaviour. Both Mary and her husband benefitted from ongoing support from our Caseworker and a co-habitation AVO was granted.
Since that day when several agencies intervened and provided support and assistance, Mary reports that her husband is “better towards her”. No longer is he emotionally controlling, and he can better manage his anger. Their financial situation is being repaired and Mary now controls the books.
* Name has been changed to protect anonymity.